The various stories of Batman and the Boy Wonder, Robin, are classic tales of good versus evil. Our hero and his sidekick fight a laundry list of villains in order to restore and maintain justice. Throughout the DC comic books series, television programs, and numerous films, audiences engage in the story of Batman and his trusty sidekick who keep Gotham City safe and rid the city of all evil.
So what can possible go wrong? Well, heroes aren’t always perfect— but sometimes this fact is overlooked because audiences are convinced that, no matter what, our heroes are inherently good.
The biggest issue with the good vs. evil trope (especially when it is applied to Batman) is that so much of the Boy Wonder narrative has blurred the lines between righteousness and wickedness, and what it actually means to strive for justice in Gotham City.
It can be hard for a reader to be so involved and trusting of a superhero like Batman, yet continuously see his “trusty” sidekicks engage in actions that are so seemingly anti-Batman. Unfortunately, there are quite a few examples of our beloved Robins-gone-rogue.
With that said, here are the 15 Worst Things Robin Has Ever Done.
15. Dick Grayson almost kills the Green Lantern
In the mid 2000s, DC Comics released All-Star Batman and Robin, which was meant to complement the extremely successful All-Star Superman. The general plot was essentially a retelling of the origins of Dick Grayson and how he became Robin. In this story, Bruce Wayne is at a circus when Dick Grayson’s parents are killed by hit man Jocko-Boy Vanzetti, and Batman damages several cop cars while trying to detain him.
As the story progresses, we find that the Justice League (Superman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, and Green Lantern) are meeting in an attempt to handle Batman’s actions. Green Lantern decides to confront Batman, and when he arrives, it is shown that Batman painted the meeting location, as well as himself and Grayson (now Robin) completely yellow.
Since Green lantern is powerless against the color yellow, Robin is able to steal his power ring. He then crushes Green Lantern’s windpipe. Green Lantern survives, but it still doesn’t erase the fact that Robin nearly murdered him.
14. Tim Drake nearly beats Johnny Warlock to death
Tim Drake is often regarded as one of the best Robins, and for good reason, too. Drake did not come to be Batman’s sidekick out of tragedy; he was not orphaned or abandoned as a child, resulting in him falling into Bruce Wayne’s care. Instead, Tim Drake wanted to be Robin, so he spent his life training in acrobatics and martial arts, all while sharpening his detective skills.
On several occasions, Drake encountered Johnny Warren, a mobster known as Johnny Warlock who was powered by a magical totem. On one specific meeting, however, Johnny Warlock injured Spoiler (Tim Drake’s on-and-off girlfriend) and, maddened by the events, Drake rebels by beating Johnny to the point of death.
13. Tim Drake gets romantic with Wonder Girl after his friend’s death
When Tim Drake was Robin, he joined the Teen Titans and evidently became best friends with Superboy up until Superboy’s death. In Teen Titans #36, Robin attempts to bring Superboy back to life— a venture that lasted for more than a year.
His plan is to clone Superboy, but when that doesn’t end up working in his favor, Robin smashes one of the jars in frustration; thus, Superboy’s remains are strewn all over the floor.
Drake’s lover at this time was Wonder Girl, and when she enters to find him in the midst of a failed clone operation, she begins to lecture him. However, things take a turn and the two start to be… romantic. Right in the middle of Superboy’s remains that are still scattered about.
12. Damian kidnaps the Teen Titans
In November 2011, DC released Teen Titans Rebirth and along for the ride with the rest of the teens was the son of Batman, Damian Wayne– aka one of the most frustrating Robins in all of Boy Wonder history.
The reimagining of the Teen Titans oddly enough begins with Damian kidnapping— yes, you read that correctly— the Teen Titans in order to assemble them.
Damian sought the Teen Titans’ help because of an ongoing problem he had with his own grandfather, Ra’s Al Ghul. Instead of assembling them in a more, erm, normal fashion, Damian fed on their weaknesses and took them down one by one and then chained them to a cave wall.
11. Dick Grayson Assists the Murder of Blockbuster
Blockbuster, a foe of Batman and Robin, is a villain with incredible strength and endurance; in addition, Blockbuster has a super high degree of resistance to attacks. Blockbuster ran many underground actions in Blüdhaven. Coincidentally Dick Grayson, who at this point had assumed his role as Nightwing, also moved to Blüdhaven and found himself at odds with the crime lord Blockbuster.
Dick Grayson eventually was in a situation where he (granted, inadvertently) caused the death of Blockbuster’s mother. In an act of revenge, Blockbuster set out to destroy Nightwing’s life.
Nightwing was not able to defeat the villain himself, and so, instead, he stood aside while Tarantula killed Blockbuster. Nightwing allegedly felt incredible guilt about the situation, but he nevertheless allowed Blockbuster’s death to happen.
10. Damian nearly kills Tim to steal Jason Todd’s costume
Damian Wayne’s backstory is an interesting one: he’s the son of Bruce Wayne and Batman’s former lover Talia Al Ghul. He was left to live with Batman after Talia leaves him to finish her father’s crusade. Damian is arguably the most selfish Robin in Batman and Robin history, thus making him certainly one of the most unlikable characters.
Batman wants to sway Damian to the right path in life, and Damian is eager to impress him. However, the two never seem to be on the same page. During this time, Tim Drake was assuming the role as Robin.
Because of his need to impress his father, Damian tries to continue Batman’s work. So, in an attempt to steal Jason Todd’s old Robin costume, Damian fights with Drake and almost kills him just to get it. It’s incredibly chilling that Batman’s own son would attempt to kill his sidekick just for attention.
9. Jason Todd kills himself by refusing Nightwing’s help
Sometimes Batman goes AWOL, where he either simply vanishes or is actually dead. Nevertheless, it has always been practice that someone takes his place during his absence. This someone has almost always worked and trained with Batman before– or is someone who has been a Robin. So, when it came time for two Robins to battle in order to find out who would replace the Dark Knight, things got strange.
This story takes place in Battle for the Cowl #2, in which the Batman position is still up for grabs. Jason Todd and Dick Grayson (who is Nightwing at this time) begin to fight over who will take over Batman’s place.
In the end, the two battle it out on top of a moving train. Over the course of the fight, Jason Todd ends up kicked off and is holding on to the edge. Nightwing attempts to assist him back up on the train, but Todd refuses his help and drops off the train. This may be seen as a strange sense of pride on Jason Todd’s part.
8. Jason Todd tries to kill all of Gotham’s criminals
Jason Todd’s storyline is a strange one– the strangeness mostly comes from the fact that his past includes both being killed and being brought back to life by evil Superman. So when Todd finally does return, he returns in a pretty bad way: by seeking out justice by way of death in Gotham City.
As we know, Batman’s mantra has always been not to kill, and he instead pursues justice via criminal imprisonment in lieu of murdering villains. Todd’s return, however, is fueled by anger regarding Batman’s decision to spare the Joker’s life, instead of avenging Jason Todd’s death.
At times, Todd has been painted as an almost villain-like character who is content with not only killing criminals, but also killing innocent citizens. Though this storyline has faded, it’s still an odd part of Todd’s character to go against Batman’s teachings and be so willing to kill others.
7. Damian abandons his father to train with Nobody
Bruce and Damian Wayne’s father-son relationship is one filled with tension, distrust, and (worst of all) betrayal. Enter Nobody: Bruce’s former trainer who is judgmental of Batman’s “soft” ways of handling crime in Gotham. Since the relationship between him and his father was not exactly perfect, Damian decides to abandon Batman and train under Nobody.
Nobody decides to test Damian’s loyalty by telling him to shoot a corrupt ambassador. Damian does comply, but when he pulls the trigger of the gun, he finds that it does not fire. Nobody then explains he was just trying to prove that Damian was, in fact, willing to abandon his own father and the infamous “no kill” rule Batman has set in place.
6. Damian kills The Spook
When Damian first started to fight crime with his father, things got a little out of control, much like they usually do when Damian is around. Per usual, Damian’s arrogance got in the way and he desperately wanted to prove his worth and skill to Batman.
In this specific story, the Spook takes Arkham hostage. Following this news, Damian decides to resolve the matter himself. However, he doesn’t just defeat the Spook. he decapitates him… and his entire gang.
Believe it or not, this isn’t where the horribleness ends in this story. Damian takes the decapitated head and brings it to his father, seemingly as a prize. He defies his father’s rules and then brings back a head for show. So no, Bruce is not thrilled with his son’s murderous acts. What a shocker.
5. Tim Drake kills The Joker
This timeline does not take place in a comic book, but in an animated film called Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker. During this film, Robin— Tim Drake, at the time— is kidnapped, brainwashed, and out of control.
Drake is essentially turned into another version of The Joker and is even tempted to kill Bruce Wayne during these hysterics. He doesn’t, of course, but the madness certainly doesn’t stop there.
What’s interesting about this film is that two versions of it exist. In one, Drake pushes The Joker into a vat of water with electrical cords and he is then electrocuted to death. In another uncut version, he simply shoots him in the heart.
4. Damian kills Nobody
Remember when Damian abandoned his father to train under Nobody, and then Nobody essentially betrayed his trust? Yeah, well, things sort of come full circle in the Damian/Nobody narrative, but not exactly in a good way.
The two are aboard a sinking ship and things really come to a head when Damian— using a few anti-Batman tactics he had since picked up— kills Nobody by hamming his fingers into his head.
It’s still unclear whether or not this is intentional on Damian’s part. Perhaps he is simply trying to hold Nobody back, or just put him out of commission for a bit. Either way, Damian once again shows how his carelessness and ego get in the way. He also confirms (again) that he truly does not have the same morals when it comes to justice and crime fighting that his father clearly does.
3. Nightwing works with Deathstroke
We get it: sometimes the good guys need to pretend to be bad guys in order to take them down. However, no matter what, it still feels like complete and utter betrayal.
When Dick Grayson— as Nightwing— wants to invade Lex Luthor’s Secret Society of Super-Villains, he decides to pretend to be a villain named Renegade and gets together with his longtime nemesis Deathstroke to do it. This way, he is able to infiltrate the society and their plans in Gotham and Blüdhaven.
Of course this eventually comes back to bite Nightwing, to no one’s surprise. Deathstroke wants “Renegade” to teach his daughter all of his dark skills and eventually Deathstroke becomes suspicious of the whole thing.
He is caught after teaching Deathstroke’s daughter to be a hero (not a villain), so Nightwing then strikes a deal with Deathstroke to stop the “good” training as long as Deathstroke leaves the city alone.
2. Dick rekindles his flame with Babs while still with Starfire
It may be surprising that one of the worst things a Robin has ever done is not even superhero-related, per se. Instead, it is entirely involving Dick Grayson’s personal life— specifically, his love life.
Out of a few love interests, Dick was involved with both Barbara Gordon and Starfire. Babs and Dick had a long history together, including the memory of Barbara’s tragedy, which left her wheelchair bound after being shot by The Joker.
In Nightwing Annual #2, Dick is romantically involved with the alien princess Starfire, whom he met when leading the new Teen Titans.
While his relationship with Starfire was still going on, Dick visits Babs in the hospital and things get… intimate. This entire situation is undeniably weird and downright a bad move on Dick’s part, essentially confirming to readers that Dick Grayson was a sleaze.
1. Robin kills Nightwing
Out of all terrible things on this list that a Robin has done, one of the most horrendous crimes is straight up Robin-on-Robin violence. Is anyone really surprised that it, of course, involves Damian Wayne?
As always, Damian forgoes his father’s no-kill policy but this time, takes it out on an unsuspecting victim—Nightwing.
In a topical story of pro-fascism (led by Superman) and anti-fascism (led by Batman), Damian and Dick come head-to-head in a terribly disastrous battle. Damien’s blow to Nightwing with a kai stick was accidental, but it ended in Nightwing falling on top of a pretty rough, jagged rock and snapping his neck.
A murderous Robin is tragic for so many reasons, especially when Batman continues to attempt to enforce his no-kill policy.
Can you think of any other awful thing that Robin has done in Batman? Let us know in the comment section!
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